Quick Forum Tutorial

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Written by Steve Graham   
Wednesday, 16 June 2004

The forum on the new Road Star Clinic is pretty good, but not intuitive for folks who have not used BB style forums.

We are working on sprucing up the interface a little to help with that, but in the meantime here are some of the things you can do with it:

  • You can subscribe to a topic:  This feature will send you an email whenever a new post is added to a topic (or thread).  If you would like to subscribe to a topic, scroll to the bottom of the screen while you are in it, and you will see a small blue icon on the bottom left of the column, just below the "RSC Forums" title.  Click on that icon and you will be notified whenever someone adds a post to the topic.  You can remove it at anytime by going into your forum profile and deleting it from your subscription list.
  • You can save a sig:  This forum uses BB code instead of HTML like Delphi does.  It is VERY easy to use.  To save a sig, go into your forum profile (click on "my profile" below the "Road Star Clinic Forums" title while you are in the forum.  When you get there, you will see a a signature field you can type into.  This field is limited to 300 characters, but that should be fine for the sigs we all like to use.  There are a feature icons along the bottom.  If you pass your mouse over them you will see suggestions for their usage.  As you enter test into the sig, you will see the number of characters contained in it on the left side of the column under the "300 characters max" heading.
  • You can send a private message: When you are viewing a post, you can send a private message to the author of the post by clicking on the blue "PM" icon on the left of the post.  The next time that user logs in, they will see a "unread PMs" line under thier "Personal Messages" menu pick that will notify them that they have a message to read.
  • You can page through long topics: At the top of every column of posts, there is a navigation bar that looks like this: << Start < Previous 1 2 3 Next > End >> .  You can click on any portion of this bar to go directly to that part of the topic.  The numbers correlate to the pages of posts.
  • You can quote a post in your posts: This is pretty cool.  When replying to a post in any topic, you can quote the author of any other post in that topic.  Do so by clickin on the "quote" icon at the bottom of his/her post.  This will take you to a new post entry screen where you can add you own post to the bottom.  This is a cool way to identify who you are responding to in  your post.
  • You can view topics in threaded form: One of the biggest shortcoming in all forums is the flat nature of thier presentation.  It is impossible to see who is responding to who without scrolling around through the topic and looking for references in the posts themselves.  With this forum you can see the true threaded form of the topic by switching to threaded view.  This is an option that is available at the top of the forum, just below the "Road Star Clinic Forums" title.  Try it and you will see what I mean.  If you like this type of view better, you can set it to be your default from your forum profile.
  • You can start your own topic: After selecting a forum section, you can start your own discussion or topic by clicking on the "new topic" icons located at either the top or the bottom of the screen. 
  • You can reply to posts or to topics: Clicking on the "add reply" button at the bottom of an individual post creates a new post in response to the one you clicked from.  If you would prefer to reply to the original post in the topic, you can scroll to it and do the same, or if you are a couple of pages into the topic you can click on the "post reply" title just below the "Road Star Clinic Forums" title at the top of the screen.
  • You can navigate through the forums: At the top, and the bottom of every forum column, there is a navigation bar that looks like this:   RSC Forums :: Forum List General - Non MC .  In this case you can see that I copied this navigation bar from a page in the "General - Non MC"  section of the forum.  You can return to the forum list by clicking on that portion of the navigation bar.
  • You can search for text in all posts: You can enter any text you want to search for in the "Search forum" box located at the top of the forum column, just above and to the right of the "Road Star Clinic Forum" title.  Enter your text in, hit enter, and you will see a list of posts that contain that text.
  • You can use an avatar: You will see a small square graphic to the left of many posts.  This is an avatar that the poster uses to help identify himself in his posts.  We have a few you can select from already in the board, or you can upload one to use.
  • You can go directly to the most recent posts in a topic: After selecting a section from the forum list, you will see a list of current topics contained in that section.  To the right of each topic row, thier will be a little orange "page" icon.  Click on this icon to go directly to the most recent post in the topic.
  • You can view a list of topics that have recent posts in them: from the top of the forum column, just below the "Road Star Clinic Forum" title, there is an option to "show latest posts".  This will list all the topics with recent posts in them.  After getting to that screen, you also have the option of seeing that list based on posts made in either the the last 4, 8, 12, 24, or 48 hours.  You can also view the same list for recent posts in the last week.

This isn't a complete list, but it does cover the major elements.  If you have a question about any of the above items, or something I have neglected to include, click on the text below this article to ask it.

We will be working on improving the look of the forum over the next few days, but the layout will remain the same.  Our intent is it to make it look more like the rest of the website.  In the meantime, please go in and look around.  Since we were unable to import the posts from the last forum we used, we will be opening a new "introduce yourselves" topic in the General - non MC category.  Please go in and introduce yourselves again so others will get a chance to know who you are.

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